Derbyshire trials Lantern

Wednesday, 16 July, 2008

A hand-held mobile fingerprinting device is being used by police in Derbyshire in a bid to help keep officers on the frontline for longer.

The portable devices have been rolled out to a 10 forces including Derbyshire as part of the National Policing Improvement Agency's Lantern Project.

Derbyshire Constabulary has been provided with eight of the devices, which allow officers to check a person's identity without having to take them to a police station.

It electronically scan's the subject's fingerprint and sends it wirelessly to be compared against the national fingerprint database. A response is returned within two minutes.

It will confirm no match or the name and details of the person, including relevant crime reference data.

After a period of training and testing the force has now deployed the devices as part of Operation Relentless.

It is being used as part of pre-planned operations and also upon request when officers need to deal with an identification issue at a scene.

Derbyshire police's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Goodman, who is also the national lead on the project, said: "This is a terrific piece of technology which ultimately allows our officers to stay out on the streets for longer.

"There are two main benefits from the use of Lantern. Firstly it helps establish someone's identity which can result in the apprehension of more criminals.

"Secondly, in normal circumstances if a person stopped is unable to verify who they are they are arrested, taken to a police station and have their fingerprints taken in custody.

"Now this can be done in quick time out on the streets reducing the inconvenience to members of the public stopped and freeing up officers both out on patrol and back in custody.

"So far in the initial work we have done with the devices the average time saved to officers on each occasion is at least 30 minutes."

Other forces currently trialling Lantern as part of the NPIA pilot project are; City Of London, Durham, Avon and Somerset, Thames Valley, Kent, Surrey, Leicestershire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

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